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Shame in soccer begins with TFF

31st March 2012
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Editorial cartoon

If it is honest to itself, which we believe is the case, the Tanzania Football Federation will readily admit that it shoulders part of the blame for the evidently falling standard of soccer in the country.

Many soccer pundits, and indeed even plain sports lovers, are convinced that our senior national soccer team (Taifa Stars) is fast going down the ladder in the FIFA rankings and time is running out. Most blame it all on poor management, including punctured preparations.

A close examination of how the Mainland premier soccer league is being handled shows a lot of pot-holes and discrepancies.

Taifa Stars’ poor performance on the international stage is closely linked to the way the premier league is run. And we know that most national teams that shine in international championships boast quality home leagues.

Bureaucracy, favouritism and paying uncalled-for attention to premiership’s top rivals Simba and Young Africans are among the factors conspiring to make our soccer lose lustre.

The controversy surrounding the recent banning and fining of clubs and players involved in a premier league match speaks volumes about why we have serious problems advancing in the soccer world. The temporary reprieve for the respective players has left many soccer fans bewildered.

The league committee has done a good job but the intervention by the appeals and reconciliation committee has left many wondering whether the discretionary powers were properly invoked.

Regardless of whether the suspensions and fines were not proper or were executed without following laid down procedure, the chaos that led to the suspensions and fines has heft an indelibly dark spot on Tanzania’s soccer.

Whether the measures are reinstated or lifted for good, the bottom line remains that we need to place a premium on discipline in soccer and all other sports.

Penalties, fines, suspensions and bans must be imposed regardless of the status of the clubs, players, fans or officials involved. Double standards will have devastating consequences.

TFF must therefore deploy technical officials who are well versed with soccer and work without prejudice, favouritism and double standards.

People should not be appointed or elected to chair such sensitive committees without verification of their know-how, skills and proficiency.

Only by fighting hooliganism and doing the most we can to end violence in and out of our stadia can we hope to make it into soccer supremacy regionally and internationally.

Officials entrusted with leadership of the sensitive committees within TFF should as a matter of policy desist from capitalising on constitutional and other flaws to bend rules and regulations in the interest of individuals operating as backstage players.

To sum up, TFF should ensure that the rules and regulations governing the running of the premier league and all other soccer activities are complied with without fail. The chaos we are witnessing in our soccer surely spells a catastrophe, and must end.

Embracing so-called league giants without caring to ensure that we are running by the rules drawn up and endorsed by world soccer governing body FIFA is a recipe for disaster.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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